May Day 4: In view of Nhlosane

The stars last night were so clear. Autumn is here – Orion sinking in the west, and later, Scorpio rising in the east.

The team has finally gotten into their routine in the evenings – Preven rounds up all batteries and recharges them – cameras, dictaphone, gps, laptops, 2 way radios – so much electronic equipment – it’s ridiculous. Pens drew up a shower roster so there is no scramble for the showers, and Mike is in charge of identifying trees and scats and other miscellaneous veld objects gathered in his sample bottles. Pandora & Penny download photos and then whilst Pandora matches the photos to the blog entry, I download all the Dictaphone entries and sit with Penelope and transcribe her notes. And all the while Wendy and John are cooking up a storm in the kitchen – well, heating up a storm – thanks to all the wonderful cooks out there who have donated wonderful meals to keep us on the go.

This morning we hit the Highway from Hell at 07h30. A landowner has been playing around on a caterpillar bulldozer, and with no regard to anything has bulldozed a road (or maybe opened up a new one). The alien wattles alongside have been bulldozed and stumped, it looks like Armageddon – nothing remains alongside the road, bare earth, loose earth, even the steep bank of the river. One rainfall and all this soil will wash into the clear clean river!

After the Highway from Hell, we meandered down the river which twists and turns in a series of u bends, but always flowing in a west east direction.

Much of the day was spent finding a route through patches of bramble, and negotiating thickets of wattle trees along the river.

After our sobering stretch yesterday at least conditions improved and we were able to enjoy ourselves again.

All day, Nhlosane Mountain stayed in our view, and although probably 80% of the river banks were lined with wattle trees, we passed through some beautiful grasslands, the slopes dotted with dolerite boulders, stunted protea bushes and vibrant red everlasting flowers.

Lunch was alongside the river with beautiful rapids and a swim revived us all.

Eventually, after 15 kilometers, we were collected by John in the bread wagon, and arrived at the most beautiful, tranquil thatched cottage at Beverly Country Cottages. I am sitting on the verandah, the moon shining above, spotted Eagle Owl calling. After a delicious dinner, it is hard to keep working – but nearly done for the day.

The whole team wishes to thank Kate at Beverley Country Cottages for the wonderful accommodation and meal which we really appreciated.

Posted by: Penny Rees

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About Nikki Brighton

I live in a Magic Cottage near the mist-belt forest with my African dog, Dizzy. We enjoy long walks in the fields to gather wild greens, sitting on the verandah with a pot of tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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5 Responses to May Day 4: In view of Nhlosane

  1. Stuart says:

    Thanks for the update and pics. Keep up the good work!

  2. A Rocha South Africa is supporting you all through this month. WE are inviting all our friends and partners to follow your progress, and topray for much goodness to follow in your footsteps, for the Umngeni and all its living communities.
    Allen Goddard
    Director for Theology & Citizenship

  3. Bart Fokkens says:

    I worked at Dargle State Forest in 1981, under the Nhlosane. Enjoyed many days tubing down the river in that area.

  4. Dean de Chazal says:

    Several dapper Dargle Gentlemen over the odd pint of lager last night, began to wager bets on who of this motley crew of pampered “walkers” would manage to stumble all the way to the sea. Pampered because they’ve been living for the first week in the luxury, splendour, comfort and super hospitality of the thoroughly decent Dargle Folk. Their walk really only starts on Monday… Our undercover spy managed to infiltrate another superb (free) meal to inspect the team, to “fix” the odds against this lot. Notes:- the oldest is passing 60, the youngest is a heavy smoker, the video camera is so big that the operator is most likely to topple over a cliff. Most walkers are barefoot every evening and blisters, cuts and abrasions are very evident. Amputations are likely for the women in the team who’ve spent many hours having pedicures, for the quality of water below the Dargle is only good for toe jam removal. Before placing any bets we suggest you wait for “day three after Dargle”. By Thursday next week some of these walkers are expected to turn around and come back to the Dargle. These clever people will be received with open arms and free ducks.

  5. Juliet Grey says:

    Sounding like a lot of fun! When Nhlosane is lost from view, I guess its gonna get really serious!

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